Photo: India Ministry of Defence

Crew Transfer Helicopter Headed to Offshore Rig Crashes Into Arabian Sea, Killing Four

Mike Schuler
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June 28, 2022

A helicopter carrying offshore personnel for India’s state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) crashed into the Arabian Sea on Tuesday, killing four people.

The helicopter had a total of nine people on board, including two pilots.

ONGC said the helicopter made an emergency landing around 11:45 a.m. local time approximately one nautical mile from the ONGC jack-up rig Sagar Kiran, ONGC said.

A search and rescue was coordinated by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre-MRCC (Mumbai).

One person was rescued by a life boat launched by the rig and four others were rescued by the ONGC stand-by vessel Malviya-16. Four uncounciuous victims were recovered by a Navy helicopter and taken to a shoreside hospital where they were pronounced dead.

“ONGC deeply mourns this tragic loss of lives; ONGC is reaching out to the affected families and extending all possible support,” the company said.

Government-owned Pawan Hans, India’s largest helicopter operator, identified the helicopter as one of their own, saying on Twitter that it had ditched due to an emergency on its final approach to Sagar Kiran rig. The two pilots were among the survivors.

ONGC indicated that there was inclement weather, but did not give a cause for the emergency landing.

An inquiry into the cause of the crash is underway.

The incident is the latest tragedy involving helicopters ferrying offshore personnel to and from oil and gas installations. In 2016, 13 people were killed when a helicopter travelling from an Equinor-operated offshore platform crashed off Norway. In 2009, a helicopter crashed off northern Scotland while returning from a BP platform in the North Sea, killing all 16 people on board.

The accident in Norway prompted the UK and Norway to suspend all flights of Eurocopter EC 225 Super Puma helicopters, popular in the global oil and gas industry.

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